beauty

Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer review

I am never loyal to a brand when it comes to my make-up but I am often loyal to products.  At the moment this is one of those products I am happy to buy over and over without avidly looking for an alternative.

I am quite lucky that I rarely suffer any breakouts (I think I had my life’s worth in my teens and early 20s!) so I only use my concealer for hiding the bags under my eyes and sometimes a little contouring.

I am what I like to call super pale.  My sister and I both are actually.  Irish genetics aren’t really known to give you much more than pale pasty skin to be fair and it can make it difficult to find foundations and concealers that match my skin well.  This is the very reason I stick like glue with products like this when match my skin.

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Note the spirals on the wand from me wiggling the stick to remove it without

My one negative I will get out of the way now and that is opening the tube.  The wand doesn’t come out smoothly and I find I have to wiggle it to get it out gently without splattering concealer onto a nearby surface or my clothes.  In the beginning when I pulled the wand out, I did exactly that, got it on my clothes or on my bathroom wall.  If Urban Decay could fix that, that would make it perfect.

The colour blends really well and has a good medium to full coverage.  It doesn’t feel heavy on the under eye area and I also find it very easy to blend my foundation over this product.

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You an see the colour blends to a point you can’t even see it.

Ingredients wise, apparently the Japanese green tea revitalizes and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines which I am never going to complain about because being in my 30s I am always interested in products that will help me minimise the wrinkles I have and avoid gaining new wrinkles.  I wouldn’t call it a huge selling point because I haven’t noticed it making the lines around my eyes any better but it can’t hurt right?

On the cruelty free aspect, Urban Decay do not test their products on ingredients on animals.  They also do not retail in China, however I know some people aren’t happy with Urban Decay because of their parent company.  But I believe in voting with my feet and I am happy to spend my money with Urban Decay, I believe it shows the big brands like L’Oreal that there is a demand for cruelty free beauty and they need to get behind the movement and support it by making more of their brands cruelty free.

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beauty

Clearly Youthful – Product review

This week I spotted a post on a veggie forum I use about Superdrug having their Clearly Youthful products down to silly prices (all under £1 in store).  As Superdrugs own brand products are cruelty free and Leaping Bunny certified I made it my business to call into store to pick up a few bits to try.  I opted for the Cream Cleanser and the 3 in 1 Cleanser/Scrub/Mask.

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Clearly Youthful Cream Cleanser & 3 in 1 Cleanser/Scrub/Mask.

The product range is designed for problematic and aging skin.  My skin isn’t particularly problematic but I am over 30 so love anything to help me fight the signs of aging.  I also loved that the cleanser has an AHA base to help exfoliate super gently each day as I cleanse and with the 3 in 1 product, I can imagine this being super handy for traveling.

I have been using the cleanser for the last few days morning and night and I am pleasantly surprised.  It smells lovely, it has a fruity, perhaps apple scent and is a nice consistency.  It removes my make-up well although not so great at removing mascara.  I have to use some Ultrabland by Lush to get the mascara off.  My skin feels lovely and soft after using this product and not tight or drained.

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3 in 1 Cleanser/Scrub/Mask being worn as a mask

I gave the 3 in 1 product a whiz this morning.  Its scent isn’t as nice as the cleanser, although it isn’t a bad smell as such, just a bit chemically.  This is a wet mask so it won’t dry like other masks and it applied quite lightly.  I left the mask on for longer than their recommended 5 – 10 minutes (I was prepping food and got distracted by Amelia wanting a snack and a drink) and it didn’t agitate my skin which is great.  It is a great scrubby product so if you enjoy a good scrub, this will work well for you.  I don’t think I would want to use it as a daily cleanser for long periods of time as I don’t like to scrub daily so for me its very much a mask and scrub.

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After using the mask (excuse the sleepy face, it was early morning)

I think I will be calling back into Superdrug to buy more of the cream cleanser while it is super cheap as I am really enjoying it.  I could take or leave the 3 in 1 product.  It isn’t a bad product, I just have other scrubs and masks I would pick over it and so I wouldn’t buy it again.

The back of the tubes claims that you will see an improvement in your skin right away but it will be more noticeable over time.  I personally think it leaves my skin looking nice after I have used it and will stick with it for a few weeks to see if it helps with the signs of aging.  Be nice if it works like magic and makes me look 21 again.

Weight Loss

Pregnant and doing Slimming World

I didn’t go to Slimming World when I was pregnant with Annabelle  and after she was born and I had gained almost 4 stone!  I also didn’t go when I was pregnant with Amelia, same story, I had gained over 3 stone.  It was six months after I had Amelia I joined Slimming World.  I was 13st 8!  A crazy weight to be when I am only 5ft tall.  I went to class for a few months and then decided to quit when it got too hard to get to class around work.  I continued eating fairly close to plan and working out at home and managed to get my weight down to 11st 4 by the time Amelia was 15 months old.  A loss of 2st 4lb in 9 months.

That’s when I unexpectedly found out I was pregnant with Ethan.  By the time I was 27 weeks pregnant I had gained 14lbs and decided it was time to go back to group.  Yes, you CAN join Slimming World when you are pregnant!  I was asked by so many people should I be joining, wasn’t it unhealthy to “diet” when pregnant etc.  The truth is, Slimming World is mainly clean eating and if you stick to it and keep a good balanced diet then you are likely to be eating healthier than if you aren’t following their plan and eating all the cake people like to give you because “Aww go on, sure you’re pregnant, you deserve something nice.”

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Me at 39 weeks pregnant with Ethan

By the time I went to my last weigh in at 39 + 2 I had gained 17lbs in total.  Yes, that means I only had a 3lb gain from 27 weeks to 39 weeks.  Of course it wasn’t quite a linear as that, I lost 4lb in week one and then it was up a little, down a little but you get my point.  I only wish I had gone back to class sooner to have done even more damage limitation.

I tracked my progress with weekly bump photos to keep me motivated and sticking to plan (You can find the photos on my Instagram if you wish to look through them) and I made sure I always had easy things to hand to snack on like Hi-fi bars or Alpen light bars and Activia yogurts with fruit were another favorite because let’s be honest, when you are pregnant you are hungry all the flipping time!  I also drank lots of water.  I know lots of people struggle with the idea of drinking lots of water but I generally clear a good 2 – 3ltrs a day anyway.  The only downside to drinking so much water when pregnant is that I also needed to wee every 10 minutes!

8 days after Ethan was born I went back to class for my first weigh in wearing my size 12-14 pre pregnancy clothes!  Because I had gained so much weight with the girls I didn’t even think fitting back into pre pregnancy clothes was a thing until babies were months old never mind days old!  When I stepped on the scales I had lost the full 17lbs I had gained.

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Me at age 22 with a 9 month old Annabelle vs me at 31 with a 4 week old Ethan

At this point I still had 2 stone left to lose and so I am still going to class each week and sticking to plan the best I can.  I did have a whoops week when I may have had 2 birthday parties for Amelias 2nd birthday and ate cake and pastries at both… but other than that I am still on the downward slide getting closer to my goal each week.

Something to note about Slimming World when pregnant is that it is approved by midwives as it is a healthy eating program and not a diet as such.  There is no calorie restrictions and you can eat as much and as often as you need to to feel full so long as you are making healthy choices.  You also get a higher Healthy Extras allowance while pregnant and more again once the baby arrives if you are exclusively breastfeeding (which I am) but you can talk to your group leader about what you are entitled to as it can change depending on your starting weight.

So would I recommend people join their local class when pregnant if they have weight to lose?  You bet I would but I would also say don’t expect to “lose weight”, the scales are likely to go up some weeks and that is just natural.  Go in and expect to minimize your gains to baby weight rather the gains being extra fat and should you weigh less after your babies birth than you did when you joined Slimming World, then take it as a wonderful bonus!

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Me today with less than 2 stone to my target to go – happily plodding along on my Slimming World journey
beauty

Bare Minerals – Lash Domination

This week I went to Debenhams to check out the new Christmas gift range at the Bare Minerals stand after seeing a post about it on Instagram.  I like to keep my make-up cruelty free so it’s great to remember that Bare Minerals are a cruelty free company and do not test their products or ingredients on animals.  They also do not retail in China.

I needed a new mascara and so I bought the See Eye to Eye gift set with the Lash Domination mascara and eyeliner.  The items bought individually would have cost £36 but this gift pack was only £22.  Bargain.

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Bare Minerals – See Eye to Eye

The mascara does do a great job of making my lashes look fuller and it’s pretty great at staying put.  I took a nap on the sofa for an hour with it on (for research purposes clearly…) and it didn’t leave any flakes which is a bonus for me as I do love a nap if I manage to get Amelia and Ethan to sleep at the same time!

However, I am not a fan of the wand.  It is one of those wands with rubber bristles in a spiral positioning and they seem to hold a lot of product in the bristles which makes it tricky to apply quickly without a large amount of product ending up on one section of your lashes.  Also while the staying power is fantastic, this also applies to the removal.  It is much harder to remove than your average mascara so be ready with some good make-up remover and cotton pads to make sure you get rid of it all at night.

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Bare Minerals – Lash Domination Mascara Wand

The eyeliner also has great staying power too.  It has a nice brush with a fine tip for application and is a very definite black.  It is also water resistant so won’t be moving anywhere if you get caught in the winter rain or need to have a cry.  To put it through its paces I actually put it on the back of my hand earlier today and to its credit it hasn’t smudged or flaked at all, surviving me making the dinner and feeding and changing the baby.

Would I recommend the products?  Yes, I would say the effect these products offer is amazing and so long as you are happy to use the not so wonderful brush and spend a little more time removing the product at the end of the day then go for it.  The gift set is great value for money so worth treating yourself to if you are after a new mascara or eyeliner for the winter

 

Friday Fling

My name is Emmy and I have a problem…

I hold my hands up and admit I take after my Granny, she had a lot of stuff in her house and well, I am a total hoarder and have a lot of stuff in my house too.

When I went on maternity leave during the summer we had not long moved house and I made it my mission to empty 1 box a day to get the house sorted.  There were so many boxes it is insane.  I managed to empty every box that was in the house, however there are still lots of “unimportant” boxes in the garage.

So that begs the question, if these boxes are so unimportant why do I keep moving them from house to house with me?  Why do I need to keep so much stuff that has been in boxes from as far back as 2006?  The simple answer is that I don’t need half as much stuff as I currently have and so I have decided that each weekend I need to start sorting through my clutter (both boxed and around the house) and keep only the things that I both need and that make me happy.

So todays fling session is something you may not expect to be a real problem.  Pyjamas!  Yes, my name is Emmy and I own FAR too many pyjamas.  Every Christmas my mum will buy me a pair because she knows I love them.  To be fair, I really do love pyjamas and I put them on in the evening when I get home from work as they are just so super comfy.  I have a large drawer dedicated to my PJs and it really was at the full to bursting point.

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In total I had 10 pairs, most of which are in the photo above.

So I asked myself:

  • Do I wear these?
  • Do I love these?

If I answered yes to both questions then I kept them and this is what I ended up with.

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I feel content having more than halved my collection down to 4 pairs that I can truly say I love.  A small success to start my decluttering and I think I will stick to asking myself the same questions for future declutter sessions.

Next week I have a new wardrobe arriving… that will be my perfect excuse to declutter my giant stash of clothes.  I’d like half the clothes that I currently have floating about the house.  Now that prospect DOES scare me!

What areas of your home do you need to declutter?

Day Trips

The Rink – Portadown

Today I took Annabelle, Ethan and my niece Hannah out to The Rink which is on the outskirts of Portadown.

I first took Annabelle to this place last winter because she wanted to go skating but I didn’t really want to take her all the way to Dundonald to go ice-skating.  However, although it is closer for me to travel to, if you have never been before, I will warn you that it is a little out in the sticks and if like today the main road is closed, you do have to drive down narrow country roads to get there.

Opening hours are a little longer this week for Halloween break and so we headed over straight after lunch.  Annabelle brought her own skates and we hired skates for Hannah as she doesn’t own any.  They seem to have got new skates in recently and they looked super cute!  The total cost was £8 and for that the girls could spend as long as they liked skating.

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Hannah wearing the cute hire skates

Sadly I was unable to skate with them today as I had Ethan in the sling but I spent over 2 hours dancing and singing along to the playlist (which was pretty great) while the girls skated around.  The staff were lovely and even offered to let me sit in the party room with the heater on if I felt Ethan was getting cold.  He was actually pretty toasty warm in the sling so we just stayed in the normal seating area but it was still nice of them to offer.

They have a small tuc shop on site for the kids to get snacks, fizzy drinks and hot drinks.  Today the girls both had hot chocolates to keep the chill away when they sat down for a break.  Most drinks cost £1 and although the range isn’t massive there are always several options to pick from.

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Aero hot chocolates to warm them up

Today was the first time I realised that The Rink is actually a charity.  The Rink is a not for profit social enterprise setup by Love Hockey Ireland to provide a setting for their charitable objectives and to provide a revenue for the charities sustainability.  A member of staff was telling me that when Annabelle outgrows her skates, if she wants to donate them to The Rink rather than a charity shop, they will give her a free skate pass which is definitely worth thinking about when the time comes.

Even as we left today I was being asked when we cold go back, they never seem to tire of this place. Opening times regularly change over holiday periods so remember to check their website before visiting – The Rink

Annabelle & Hannah gave The Rink 4.5/5

Day Trips

Halloween half term day trip – W5 Belfast

This morning we all woke up later than normal and the Tesco shop was due between 10 and 11 so it was all a bit of a flap.  However, as we wanted to go on a day trip, we managed to get a pack lunch thrown together for the family and everyone dressed and out of the house before 12 noon to head out on our day trip.  Because we arrived at the Odyssey (or should I say the SSE Arena – I can’t be the only one who refuses to call it that right?) at lunch time, it is fair to say that W5 was already packed full of families and kids.

From the moment we got in, Mimi was like a little kid in a sweet shop, running from activity to activity with bags of enthusiasm and the energy of 10 energizer bunnies.  Annabelle had been before but she was still having a great time and Ethan, well he slept through most of the trip.

They currently have a Monster Manor section up for Halloween week and Annabelle had been looking forward to it, however I found it a little weak.  It consisted of mainly projections on walls and scenes set up behind barriers.  Nothing interactive or tactile for the kids to play with as they passed through.  This section was however the exception as every other section and floor was packed full of things to do.

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Monster Manor – W5

The discovery section is sponsored by The Outlet in Banbridge and it was the big winner for Amelia.  Mini versions of a Spar, a cafe, a kitchen, a stage to put on your own concert and a massive dolls house were some of the highlights for Amelia.  She must have spent a good half hour at the dolls house alone and was so well behaved.  I would happily go back for this section alone to keep her amused.

Annabelle had the best time on Climbit which was what I would describe as a climbing structure made out of lily pads that ascended a full 4 floors of the building!  I’m not sure how long they are keeping this exhibit but it is well worth going to if you want your kids to burn off lots of energy climbing up and down the structure.

Overall we spent close to 4 hours there with the kids and for £23.50 it was well worth the money.  Under 3’s are free and they offer a family season ticket for under £10 a month which I am sorely tempted to buy as it seems a great way to give the kids a day trip out without spending a fortune all the time.

Annabelle gave W5  a kids rating of 4.5/5